Published October 27, 2011
The U.S. Department of State said Thursday that 30 seriously wounded Libyan fighters will receive U.S. medical care since they cannot be successfully treated in their home country.
“Just as the United States and the international community stood with the Libyan people during the revolution, we continue to work with Libya to address urgent humanitarian needs,” the statement from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said.
The decision came after the Transitional National Council made a request last weekend.
The severity of the injuries were unclear, but 24 wounded fighters will receive treatment at Spaulding Hospital in Boston, Mass., and six others will be treated in Germany. All of the injuries occurred during recent fighting.
“The United States offers this humanitarian gesture of emergency medical evacuation assistance as a token of our support for the democratic aspirations of the Libyan people and our hope for a continued strong partnership as they build a new Libya,” the statement read.
The Boston Globe reported that Clinton met last week with Mahmoud Jibril, the prime minister of Libya’s interim government, and afterwards spoke about evacuating the “most seriously injured” to specialized facilities in the U.S.
In a recent Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal, Senators John McCain, R.-Ariz., Lindsey Graham, R.-N.C., Mark Kirk, R.- Ill. and Marco Rubio, R.-Fla., wrote about the dire situation many Libyans face after months of battle.
"The most meaningful support the U.S. could provide at this time is to help Libya care for its many wounded citizens," they concluded. "From our visit to the hospital, it is clear that Libya does not have the capacity to care for such a large number of wounded, many requiring advanced treatment and prosthetics."
They mentioned that the interim government would be willing to reimburse the U.S. for the costs of the humanitarian assistance and recommended deploying a hospital ship or transporting of those in need of "advanced care" to U.S. facilities in Europe.
Meanwhile, the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to lift the no-fly zone over Libya on Oct. 31 and end military action to protect civilians, acting swiftly following the death of Muammar Qaddafi and the interim government's declaration of the country's liberation.
The resolution ends the U.N. authorization for military action just before midnight local time on Oct. 31, which means that Libya will regain control of its airspace and all military operations effective Nov. 1.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.